One of the greatest criticisms of Neil Lennon’s first spell at Celtic was dished out by his immediate successor. Ronny Deila followed Lennon into the Parkhead hotseat in 2014 and soon slammed the fitness of the players he’d been left with.
The Norwegian famously banned chips and fizzy drinks from the players cafeteria. He also went on the offensive about the condition Lennon had left them in.
Speaking to Eurosport in 2014, Deila said: “When I see the tests players are doing, I see they have a lot to improve.”
“Maybe I see things differently from what Neil was doing.
“For me, to be professional is to be a 24-hour athlete. If not, then you can go and start working outside football. That’s not so hard. You can be amateurs again.”
Were Deila’s comments fair?
The Norwegian was clearly in a position to comment on the fitness of the players he inherited. There is no reason to suggest he was exaggerating their condition for his own good.
A counter argument would be that Lennon’s side had more success than Deila’s. The Norwegian may have implemented a greater fitness setup but that isn’t all there is to football. Lennon’s teams did score a lot of late goals in matches so their fitness couldn’t really be called into question.
Brendan Rodgers changed the game at Lennoxtown when he arrived in 2016. He brought in new sports scientists, nutritionists and other key members of staff. It is crucial that Celtic don’t abandon all of this just because a new manager is in place.
We must continue to move forward even if our managerial appointment is one from the past.